Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Scrooge's Last Adventure part three: "The Quest..."

Well, here we go again.  Let's get right into it.

You know how I'd react if I were a creature beyond mortal comprehension and I was just chilling, when some loudmouth duck came pounding at my door?  I'll tell you: I wouldn't.  Let them just open up the door and find themselves in a featureless, empty room.  It's meaningless to talk about me "wasting" my time, since time isn't a factor for me, but there's just no reason to bother messing around with this guy.

...of course, they react otherwise.  In the last part Magica claimed that they were "beyond [Scrooge's] comprehension," but that's really not remotely true, is it?  I keep talking about them as though they're actual transcendental, alien creatures, but as is usually the case with things like this, they're just regular people, only with more hit points and special attacks.  Probably a better THAC0.

Yeah, you just want the money back to save your hometown.  You are so full of shit, Scrooge.  Which would be one thing except that I sort of feel like the story wants us to take him at face value here.  "A Little Something Special" also tried to trot out this idea of Scrooge as a civic figure, and it didn't work any better there.  Okay, sure, as a secondary concern, he may be indignant on Duckburg's behalf.  But that is VERY much not his main issue here.

Also, they just appeared to yell at you.  There is no reason you should assume they have anything like empathy for you.

...oh.  That's the reason?  I kind of assumed that the dime had power (if it does) because of, like, the accumulated spirit of stick-to-it-iveness and acquisition.  And that, therefore, the money being taken away wouldn't have any effect on it, since that spirit remains.  But perhaps, as I think about it, they're just assuming--they don't know.  And as we all know, assuming makes an ass out of u and ming.  In any event, this makes them seem ever-less all-powerful.

I really can't EVEN with this stuff.  It's one of these things: it's inevitably not going to be wholly realistic, but if it can talk a good enough game, you'll accept it anyway.  But this isn't that.  What's this "rightfully mine" business?  I will refrain from making a jaundiced comment about capitalism and note that, if words actually mean things, then yes, your stuff that was stolen is still rightfully yours.  But in that case, if rightful ownership is the only point of contention here, then the question of whether it "counts" as stolen is meaningless--it's still rightfully yours either way!

And this part, argh.  On the one hand nitpicking semantics is probably a good choice, really.  It may not work, but when you're dealing with a more powerful opponent, it may be your only chance.  The problem, though, is that this is just bad semantics.  I'm trying to even figure out what he's going on about here.  Is the argument really that if you go into a bank and, uh, forcibly take (I'm trying not to say "steal")  a big money bag with a dollar sign on the side, but you're only taking it to give to your friend, and you accidentally drop it in a well before you can do doesn't count as stealing?  Yeah, good luck getting that to hold up in court.  I'm not sure even Rudy Giuliani would be willing to try.

He extremely doesn't have a point.  Fyi.  I kind of doubt beings like them NEED a "power base," but, well...maybe they do.  Maybe I'm wrong about everything!

OH NO!  I mean, I guess it's bad that the hill will be flattened, but really, how many malls do you think Scrooge owned?  And how many natural features do you think he demolished for space?  This really, really just seems like extremely average plutocrat stuff.

So...okay, Glomgold definitely wants to be known as the world's richest duck.  That's non-negotiable.  But--as he's portrayed in this story, at least--do you really think he would have an ego investment in having his name come first?  He really seems more like a dead-eyed pragmatist who would be perfectly content to operate from the shadows as long as he has the power.  I dunno.

OH MY GOODNESS.  Yes, I got that reference.  To my chagrin.

Restitution spells can't be cancelled?  Why not?  Plot reasons?  Okay.  Well, forget "cancelling;" can you just move the money somewhere else?  Although actually, if we assumed she was just capable of whisking it around willy nilly, there wouldn't be much she couldn't do, would there?  She'd definitely have gotten the dern dime by now.

"Those spells are set to send things to the place you currently call home!  Please disregard that really odd phrasing; it will not be relevant later!"  Really, given how finely Scrooge was slicing meaning earlier, you'd think he'd take note of this.  I guess he's just too shocked, but the problem is that I think we the readers are not meant to immediately get what happened, which seems...unlikely.

Is it pretty weird that the alien beings beyond space and time are apparently scared to visit the terrifying depths where dwell...well, you know.  It's pretty funny, but I don't know if it's an intentional joke or not.

And here they are.  Yeehaw!  That narration box is pretty weird: I daresay that anyone who reacts to this scene by thinking "what manner of bizarre creatures are these?  I've never seen the like in all my born days!" probably doesn't have a sixty-four-year-old issue of Uncle Scrooge just lying around.  Is IDW implicitly encouraging piracy?  And even beyond that, this could be confusing, as it could be taken to refer to the "new" numbers in the IDW line.  #13 is where the first installment of this story was published, and it features no terries OR fermies.

Anyway, I do like seeing these guys.  I enjoy the story's maximalist approach.  Although as I was reading, I have to admit, I did kind of feel like this subplot was taking up an excessive amount of space.  It's not that fascinating, so I'll mostly gloss over it.

So the underground is being polluted by Glomgold.  That's the long and short of it.  At first you think it has some relationship to the coup in Duckburg, but as you think about it, you realize, no...this would just be happening anyway.  Which does seem to make its inclusion here feel a little more questionable.

I mean...yes, it is the symbol for the South African pound...and also the symbol for the pound in the UK and the handful of other countries that use pounds as currency.  I mean, other contextual clues would also lead you to realize you were in South Africa, but I dunno about that.  Also, don't you think the trucks would have the rand symbol--just a big ol' R--on them?  I can buy that Glomgold's bin would still have the pound sign, what with it costing money to change, but surely those trucks are not that ancient?

Boy, imagine what would have if this guy met that Scrooge person from those Barks Junior Woodchuck stories.  It wouldn't be a pretty sight, I'll tell you that!

So this is the sort-of relevance of him having lost his hat in the first part.  Now he has a different hat!  Which is older, yet looks the same!  Victory.

Actually, fair's fair, it is sort of cool.  I don't know how much relevance it has to anything, though.

Rare full-page splash panel!  And not a bad one at that.

Yes, okay.  I just feel like if there's a reveal like this, it needs to earn its keep: you thought one way before, but now you see things from a totally different perspective, and you think, well played, story--ya got me!  That doesn't happen here, though.  We all knew the punchline well in advance!

Well, here's the first explicit reveal of that evil/spoiled dichotomy, which, as I've said, I think works pretty well here.  And that is all!

What will happen?!?  Will that pig and those chickens help out?!?  Find out in the grand finale!

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Blogger Achille Talon said...

For what it's worth, Rosa also embraced the "Number One Dime only works if Scrooge is the richest duck ever" thing in Treasure of Crœsus, since a lot of that plot revolves around Magica assuming that if Crœsus was richer than Scrooge in his day, it must mean that his first coin would work for her spell instead of Scrooge's; and therefore, when the Crœsus-based amulet fails to do anything whatsoever, it's proof that Scrooge really is richer than Crœsus. (Unless Magica's spell is a lot of nonsense altogether, which is a valid alternative interpretation, of course.) See also Chapter 0 of the L&T, where Magica is okay with stealing Scrooge's Dime at an earlier point in his timestream, and it's only when it seems having been Scrooge's first coin at all that it loses its value.

Of course, that doesn't quite fit the mechanics described by the Supreme Witches here. Ultimately, I think there must be about a dozen different competing theories of exactly what Magica wants with the Dime, and why the Dime is the only way she sees of getting whatever that is. I've given up on reconciling them. Even Barks isn't at all consistent.

December 16, 2020 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

That Glomgold is all hat and no cattle.

December 16, 2020 at 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That "the dime loses its magical potency the instant Scrooge stops being the world's richest" thing has appeared in a whole ton of stories. This here plot point of Magica working with other villains to steal Scrooge's money AND dime and it backfiring because of this was used by Rosa in A Little Something Special too.

December 16, 2020 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Was that a thing in "A Little Something Special?" I remember the twist in "Of Ducks, Dimes, and Destiny," but not that one.

I guess it's fine if it works differently in different stories, but I kind of think my preferred interpretation is that it wouldn't work; the dime is just an ordinary dime with no potential magical powers. You'd think that would be what Rosa would want to go with too, considering what a stickler he is for the idea that the dime is NOT lucky.

December 16, 2020 at 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From A Little Something Special:

Magica: Stop crying, you old wretch!
Scrooge: *sob!* It's just that I feel so sorry for myself! And for YOU!
Magica: Sorry for ME? When I finally have the first coin earned by the world's most successful man? When I can use it in a magic spell to make myself infinitely wealthy? Heeheehee!
Scrooge: But now I'm PENNILESS!*sob!* A complete failure!
Magica: A *gulp* penniless failure?
Scrooge: Yes, and I feel awful about it! After all your years of effort, my dime is now WORTHLESS for your magic charm! *sob*
Magica: Great Circe! You're right! If my spell depends on this coin's owner being the richest man on Earth - it's WORTHLESS to me now!

December 16, 2020 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

I don't think that dime was ever ment to be lucky or magical (exept in that one duck tales episodes when Gladstone gets trick by Magica sto steal it and the lack of dime affects Scrooges fortune)

In my interpretation it works a bit like a voodoo doll - where you need something personal to a person to make the curse work. Only here it's more specific - it has to be his first earned coin (slash most personal material posetion)

December 16, 2020 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Well...he said it and she believed it. Whether it's actually true is perhaps up in the air. :p

December 16, 2020 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Oh! I prefer that whatever the Midas medalion will work or not will remain a mystery...

Even if at least in Rosa verse IT WAS SHOWN TO WORK in "THE DUCK WHO NEVER WAS" altenrative reality (Making it Donald the only person who actualy knows it will work)

BTW - this is offtopic (but Magica related) I alway found "Raven Mad" Barks story to be incredeble creepy as in that 10pager Magica clames that when the dime will get melted by the sun it's charms will come back to her as beans of light and make her rich, rich, rich... out side of how errie this sounds - this one story makes Magica feel trully insane. Like yhe she has some potions, poof bombs and hipnosis to back up her witch status but in her head she lost her marvels - not in a comedy crazy way but in a "don't give this person a knife" way. She is seriously frightening in that one... both in the way she acts and how bonekrs the plan is.

HUM... Must say "please" to GeoX one day so he would review it ;)

December 17, 2020 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

BTW - I meant sunbeams not "beans"... as in sun rays... Well, you know what I ment ;)

December 17, 2020 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

I'd say that whether the dime is a lucky dime enabling Scrooge to get rich (an idea which Rosa clearly repudiates) is a separate issue from whether the Midas amulet would work by making Magica rich (as Pan Miluś says, Rosa does show it to work in Alternate Duckburg). If you go along with the Rosa positions, then it's up to you to decide exactly why the dime works in the spell. As Pan Miluś says, it doesn't have to mean that the dime has an inherent power apart from the spell; it can be that the spell just needs this particular sort of object, in the way another spell might need a lock of hair. This spell needs a coin (because it's a wealth spell) which has great symbolic/emotional meaning to the zillionaire mumble mumble.

What's not clear is the precise definition of why a particular coin would work (what it has to mean to its owner, is it about owner's frequent touch or obsessive focus etc.) and the magical rule about whether the owner still has to be super-rich when the coin is melted into an amulet.

In any case, on reading this plot twist in Scrooge's Last Adventure, I thought, Oh, I've seen that before in A Little Something Special. But it's interesting to know that that same plot device has been used in other stories as well.

On Magica's wording that "those spells are set to send things to the place you currently call home": what seems odd to me, given what happens, is that Grandma's farm is *not* the place Scrooge currently calls home. At the time of the spell he would still have thought home = bin, even though it was in enemy hands, and it wouldn't have occurred to him to name the farm as even his temporary home. So wouldn't it have been better just to have her say, "Those spells are set to send things to the owner's home"--and then have the reveal be that the magical spell-working power knew what Scrooge's home truly is right now?

By the way, what *does* Magica say in Italian?

I do enjoy that full-page splash panel of the farm inundated with Scrooge's cash. And I personally appreciate the coloring that makes the coins mostly silver-toned--I'd guess it was a sea of gold in the original coloring.

December 17, 2020 at 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barks' original idea was just that the the amulet was to be made from coins touched by rich people, and the number one dime had the potency it did because it was the one coin that had been touched by the world's richest man more than any other coin. It being "lucky" never had any relevancy.

December 17, 2020 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Specialist Spectrus said...

In the German version, Scrooge also points to the fact that he had non-cash belongings such as papers, although that's neither here nor there.

Instead of disintegrating the cash, the old hag actually suggests they should convert them all into locusts! This gives Scrooge a bit more leeway saying they'll have to deal with their conscience if they did.

"The place you currently call home" is nowhere near as explicit in the German, she simply says "I'm not guilty, the spell just automatically chose your home", and I think that works better. I certainly didn't foresee the money ending up on the farm.

There is no narration box in the German version, however an odd reference to Rosa: "And you're still searching for the center of the Earth?"

December 31, 2020 at 7:09 AM  

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